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Potted blueberries great for small plots
While there are plenty of options from pretty specimen plants to fruit and vegetables for the plate, blueberries fit into both categories. They flower abundantly and in autumn, the leaves make a colorful show. But if its fruit you want, then fruit you will get.
One of the healthiest fruits around, blueberries are high in anti oxidants and in Vitamins C, A, E. While they grow wonderfully well in the ground and have become commercially viable in New Zealand, they also grow well in pots which makes them ideal for city or small plot gardeners.
In the actual garden, blueberry plants can grow as high as six feet and while that shouldn’t happen in a pot you still need pots large enough to give these plants room to spread their roots a bit. Size is pretty much up to you, the bigger the pot, the bigger the plant.
Naturally, it is one plant per container and, because blueberries (from the Ericaceae family) don’t like alkaline soils, remember to use an acidic compost as well as a slow release fertiliser. Potted blueberries need slow release feeding about twice a year and if the pot is on the smaller side, then the plant will need constant watering. Larger pots will take longer to dry out.
And remember, because they like acidic soil try to use rainwater which is more acidic than water from the tap. Importantly do not let potted blueberry plants dry out – they will drop their fruit. In summer (not now) you may even need to water two or three times a day if pot is in bright sunlight. However, in the ground, blueberries do not like wet feet.
For those who already have potted blueberries, the time to re-pot (if a bigger container is warranted) can begin any time from now although if living in a colder climate it may pay to wait another month or so.
Most blueberries require a second plant to pollinate their flowers – cross-pollination. In cases were berries are noted as being self fertile, it is recommended still to plant at least 2 plants to ensure a good harvest. A number of varieties are widely available throughout the country; garden centres normally have good stocks all year round as the plants are sold in pots.
Even in pots, do not forget to net your plants as soon as the flowers start to fade – birds love this fruit and without a net you could lose your crop very quickly!
Harvest is between November and March but don’t expect a big crop in your first year . After that the crop can be expected to double each year until the plant is full grown.